Thursday, September 3, 2015

Matt Kalil

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Today marks the fifth day of training camp for the Minnesota Vikings, and Vikings Territory will be there to cover every second of walkthroughs and practices! If you’ve missed any of the action, be sure to visit our training camp page to read the latest stories and posts coming out of Mankato.

I’ll also be touring U.S. Bank Stadium this morning as part of the stadium’s partnership with the Minnesota Vikings — the Vikings Biggest Fan Sweepstakes. There, 40 lucky fans and their guests will take a hard hat tour of the stadium and visit the preview center to learn more about the Vikings’ new home.

After a morning in the Twin Cities, we’ll take a bus up to Mankato and watch the Vikings’ second day of practice in pads from the sidelines. Fans will have a chance to talk to a member of the media before practice and meet one of their favorite players at the end of the day. Before leaving, each of the special guests will receive a complimentary gift to commemorate the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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(Photo Courtesy of Luke Inman)

Training Camp is a time to figure things out. I have a laundry list of things I want to shake out in Mankato and I’ll rattle a few off on the podcast. We’ll also talk about our production schedule for this week (at least one episode a day!), as well as rough outline of our Mankato adventure this weekend, and us singing the praises of Boulder Tap House. A place ya’ll should come swarm us after each Vikings practice. Do it.

A Few of the 37 Things I Want to Figure Out in Mankato Include
• Nothing about Adrian
• “How does Teddy look?”
• How much does Chad Greenway have left?
• That Zimmer Hellfire Defense in year two.
• Who wins at right guard? Harris – Berger/Yankey/Thompson/Shepherd/ FUSCO?
• With Clemmings staying at tackle, could he be the eventual replacement for Loadholt/Kalil?
• What’s Stefon Diggs gonna be?
• What’s the deal with Spielman’s arms?
• Will Trae Waynes even start as a rookie?
• Cordarelle has one strike left. Will he strike out?
• Tune in for the other 27!

All that and other “Love Me Some Mankato” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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Dave Schwartz (@Dave_Schwartz) of Kare 11 sports fame joins the show to talk about the Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings, Bowties, and I explain what a PhunkeeDuck is.

Other “Uptown. PhunkeeDuck. Uptown PhunkeeDuck.” Talking Points Include:
• Whatever a PhunkeeDuck is, it looks stupid
• Amazon Shoutout to JP!
• Dave Schwartz
• Dave went to Hobart. Which is NOT Hogwarts
• Backstory, how did he get his start?
• Is sports news as fun as he makes it seem?
• Quick Wolves Chat: Karl-Anthony Towns + Tyus Jones #OneOfUs
• Oddest Vikings offseason he’s covered?
• What it was like covering “Favre Watch”
• Visanthe Shiancoe eats chicken wings weird
• Thoughts on the Adrian Saga Wrapping Up
• Second chance for Adrian Peterson
• What to expect from Teddy in 2015
• Cordarrelle Patterson is boom or bust this year
• Thoughts on the Draft
• Biggest question mark remaining: Offensive Line
• Biggest Surprise So Far: Mike Wallace
• Dave’s STONE COLD HOT TAKE
• The Gauntlet
• Do Adam Thielen & Marcus Sherels have to worry?
• Dave compares his hockey game to Matt Cooke. Take note, #WildTwitter
• Josh Robinson’s Social Media Gaff
#BuyDavesTies for Parkinsons Research

All that and other “6 Weeks Til Training Camp Seems Like a Lifetime” chatter on this edition of the Purple FTW! Podcast!

An Andy Carlson Joint.

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A lot of people are talking about the great pieces the Vikings are putting together, and there is even some speculation that Minnesota could be the dark horse and sneak into the Playoffs this season. That being said, what do you see as the biggest key to the Vikings’ success in the upcoming season? 

Brent: Offensive Line
I will try to differentiate yet again, as I like to try to provide a different perspective for each Question of the Week. I think the glaring answer here is obviously Teddy Bridgewater. There is little question in my mind that the Vikings would have been much, much worse last year had he not played so well in the second half of the season. That said, in order for Bridgewater to continue his progression as an NFL quarterback without hitting a sophomore slump, I feel the offensive line is the biggest key for the Vikings’ success. Not only will the O-line pave the way for Adrian Peterson to run wild, but its ability to help keep Bridgewater upright will be essential to take advantage of deep-threat Mike Wallace. Wallace is a perfect fit for Norv Turner’s offense and the deep threat the Vikings have been looking for to complement their power run game. In my opinion, success on offense starts with the offensive line; without that unit providing consistency, neither Peterson, Bridgewater or Wallace can thrive as intended.

Lindsey: Offensive Line
You’ve heard me complain about the offensive line before, and I have to go back to it with this question. Bottom line: the crew needs to improve. Granted, injuries to Brandon Fusco and Phil Loadholt hurt the Vikings last season, and I expect the O-Line to automatically improve with their healthy return. However, Matt Kalil has been abysmal the last two seasons. If he doesn’t get his stuff together, we’re in trouble. I’m also hoping that Fusco can possibly move over to left guard to fill that vacancy.

A huge piece of Minnesota’s success in 2015 is of course Teddy Bridgewater and his performance, and also the impact of Adrian Peterson, but neither one can perform well if there is no protection. Bridgewater spent way too much time on the ground last season … that needs to change if the Vikings hope to see the postseason.

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An American flag flutters in the wind over the Vikings' new stadium

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In a move expected by many, the NFL’s 32 owners approved the Competition Committee’s proposal on extra points for the 2015 season. The rule changes, which were passed on a 30-2 vote Tuesday, are as follows:

  • The extra point will now be kicked from the 15-yard line with two-point conversions remaining at the 2-yard line.
  • If the defense returns a blocked extra point or failed two-point try for a touchdown, they will be awarded two points. Under the previous rule the ball was dead on a failed try.

Blair Walsh, the Vikings’ ace fourth-year kicker, has been nearly perfect when kicking extra points — in 109 attempts, he’s missed just one kick, giving him a 99.1 career percentage in such situations. With the changes, extra points will now move to the 15-yard line, where Walsh has been nearly as successful.

In 31 career attempts between 30-39 yards (extra points are now 33 yards), Walsh has connected on 28 kicks. His leg from this distance is close to perfection, as he’s a 90.3 percent kicker in this range. When news broke of the rule changes, Walsh shared his response on Twitter:

For Walsh, the change in distance is negligible. His percentages from either distance are above average, and 33-yard field goals are routine for most NFL kickers. Defensive coaches and special teams coordinators will adjust their gameplans, scheming more “block” concepts into these plays, but I expect minimal effect on box scores next season.

If anything, the news is beneficial to players like Walsh; an increased importance on the extra point equates to an increase in value for kickers who can deliver from this range. Walsh, in turn, may enjoy a salary increase once his rookie contract expires.

For more Vikings news, check out the links below:

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